tv BBC World News PBS February 9, 2011 12:30am-1:00am PST
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>> and now "bbc world news." >> egypt's biggest protest so far. hundreds of thousands demanding president mubarak steps down. the u.s. calls on egypt's vice president to lift the country's emergency laws and ensure an orderly transition of power. britain's foreign secretary warns instability could have dire consequences for peace efforts between israel and the palestinians. >> uncertainty and change across the midwest can complicate further making progress on the middle east peace process. >> welcome to bbc news, broadcast to our viewers on pbs in america and also around the globe. coming up later for you -- a u.s. investigation into safety in toyota cars finds no problem with the vehicle's electronics. and italian prosecutors are set
to demand prime minister berlusconi go to trial claimed he paid for sex with an underage prostitute. >> the united states has put further pressure on president mubarak of egypt to stand down in the near future. in a tell phone call vice president joe biden told the egyptian officer that attacks on journalists and demonstrators should cease. it followed a day which saw the biggest anti-government demonstration so far. the protests were boostered by the appearance of young activists. jeremy boone reports from cairo. >> al-ganine emerged from 12 days retention to find himself a
hero. a local tv station has been replaying this interview. he said he wasn't a hero and he broke down when they told the stories of people who have been killed protesting. "i want to say sorry to every mother and father who lost their son but it wasn't our fault. it's the fault of all of those holding on to power, who won't let it go. they didn't need to add the sad music. message electrified his new followers. the protest in that rye square was the biggest yet. a lot were talking about his new interview. >> it was very powerful. >> the speech was the highlight of the day. we had enough, he told them. it didn't really matter what he said. he's become the first national symbol of their revolution, a very modern revolutionary, a
marketing manager for google who helped instigate the uprising with his facebook page. the tens of thousands on the streets seized on a local hero. the state media here often say demonstrations are incited fwoirners. the queues to get into the square were the longest i have seen by a big margin. >> i think it's so civilized the way people are entering a revolution in a queue like that.s0 this is something that makes all of the emotions and everything inside of you just repeat it and repeat it and repeat it, we want freedom and we want this regime down. >> i think we should disconnect. we don't need him. >> while plenty of people are leaving, there are thousands more coming over this bridge to get to the square. today's mass sieve turnout is a sharp remind are to the regime that the protest movement is not exhausted. the pressure on president mubarak to go is increasing.
jeremy boone, bbc news, cairo. >> as we were hearing, the u.s. vice president has told his egyptian counterpart he should ensure an orderly transition of power. mr. biden also called for the ee listing of egypt's long-standing emergency laws. earlier the white house spokeman gibbs said they needed to cease reform. >> yesterday i think vice president seiuli man made particularly unhelpful comments about egypt not being ready for democracy, about not seeing a lift of the emergency law. i don't -- don't think that in any way squares with what those seeking greater opportunity and freedom think is a timetable for progress. >> robert gibbs and our washington correspondent andrea north joins me now. the political crisis in egypt really has caused a president bush forbe the obama administration. are we now last beginning to see
a coherent policy? >> well, very difficult to know because the white house does seem to change positions several times. it does now though appear to be stepping up the pressure again after recent days being criticized in quite a few quarters for appearing to go soft on the muehr barrack government, in particular allowing president mubarak to stay on until the elections planned for september. but i think given the continuing protest, of course, what we saw today, the biggest yet, i think their white house is getting nervous at the yesterday as some put it here being left on the wrong side of history. and there's also criticism coming from some quarters, an influential group of middle east experts put out a report calling what the mubarak government is doing a smoke screen to try to hang on to power and if the white house is not careful, it risks endorsing a fraudulent transition. now, those comments you heard
there from robert gibbs, the white house spokesman, criticizing the vice president. it's possible to read that in two ways. of course, this is the man washington still hopes can organize trains igs away from president mubarak. and it could be by criticizing like that, they are also trying to help him so he's not seen quite as much as being washington's man. >> you think we're also beginning to become apparent that washington thinks the army ultimately will be the power broker, and it's already aligning itself with the generals. >> well, this is the thing, why they will continue to be criticism and suspicion of exactly what the americans are up to. of course, this is a government with whom they have had very long and close ties and, of course, they also have the concerns and advice of regional allies, other arab countries, israel in that area, very concerned about what may be the
outcome of this. that so they're trying to tread a delicate line between all of these conflicting advice and finding it quite difficult, i think, to respond. i think the thing is also there may be a limit to what it really can do on the ground. everyone expects washington to be able to do a lot. but in the end i think the message, the protesters will take from this is it's best for them to stay and keep the pressure. >> andrew, thank you very much. the french prime minister has admitted president mubarak loaned him and his family a place and paid for accommodations during holiday in egypt. after a statement emerged, his colleague foreign minister was still fighting calls for her resignation over her relatives. the british foreign secretary, william hague, has told the bbc peace efforts between israel and
the palestinians could become a casualty. also protests sweeping the arab world. he was speaking to our diplomatic correspondent james robins, who is traveling with mr. hague on his emergency tour of the region. >> now, this is the fear. i've said this is a moment of opportunity, and not fair. but part of the legitimate fair is uncertainty and change across the middle east can complicate still further making progress on the middle east peace process and that means there's a real urgency for the peace process. for the israelis, for the palestinians, for the united states, are usual in giving -- maintaining a leading role in pushing forward the middle east peace process. recent events mean this is an even more urgent priority, not something we set k set on one's side because we're so busy thinking about other things. and that's the case we are putting strongly to the israeli government and indeed in washington. >> the immediate reaction to the israeli government is the
anxiety, fear that egypt seems it might fall apart. isn't it for israel something rather bold, some gesture to revive the peace process rather than retreat? >> this situation does require bold engagement, bold readiness from the israelis. it was disappointing that they continued the building the satellite, they wouldn't renew the settlement freeze over the last few months. but it does retire bold leadership from israel and, of course, from palestinians who have to then be able boldly to respond to such initiatives and it requires a strong determination in the united states from the administration and from congress to be able to continue to give the lead in the middle east peace process and active support from other nations as well. it requires all of those things otherwise that two-state solution in the middle east will get steadily more difficult and within a few years may become
impossible. and that would leave us with decades of potential conflict and even deeper difficulties in the middle east. it's one of our top priorities in foreign policy over next few years. >> william hague there. a u.s. government investigation into toyota cars have found no problems with the electronics in the vehicles. since 2009 the japanese firm has recalled more than 12 million cars and vans across the world to deal with problems such as sticky accelerators and sudden acceleration. steve kingston reports from washington. >> it was one of the worst p.r. disasters of our times, world's biggest carmaker told by thousands of drivers that their toyotas had suddenly inexplicably accelerated, sometimes with fatal consequences. >> we're in trouble. there's no brake. we're approaching an intersection. hold on. >> here in california, the 911 caller and three others were
killed. toyota settled out of court with their families. the government's asked engineers at nasa to consider whether toyotas electric struggle -- electronic throttle was at fault. >> the jury is back. the verdict is in. there is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in toyotas. period. >> instead nasa identified two mechanical causes, consistent with toyota's own findings. >> first, some toyota floor mats entrapped driver's gas pedal while their vehicles were in motion. second, so-called sticky pedals made some toyota acceleration too slow to release. >> since late 2009, toyota has recalled more than 12 million vehicles, most of them in the
united states where the company has scrambled to protect his reputation. in congress, toyota's scrap knees president offered a personal a -- japanese president offered a personal apologize. >> i am deeply sorry for any accident toyota drivers have experienced. >> while tv ads have sought to calm american fears -- >> in recent days our company hasn't been living up to the standards that you've come to expect from us. >> but last year toyota's u.s. sales fell while its american rivals grew. and commpt was fined almost $50 million for delaying recalls. nasa's findings may help toyota defend itself against the rash of lawsuits over sudden acceleration. the company claims to have turned a corner. witness an increased sales forecast for 2011, unveiled earlier in tokyo. the drop in fourth quarter profits was also less than expected. the company welcomed the u.s. government's findings saying they would restore confidence in
this damaged brand. steve kingston, bbc news, washington. >> this is bbc news. still ahead -- a higher tax bill for big banks. they face a levy of a half billion pounds, 800 million more than expected. indonesia's president condemned the burning of two churches in central java. hundreds of muslims attacked it after a christian man was sentence to five years in prison for distributing leaflets deemed insulting to islam. from jakarta, jennifer pack. >> muslim protesters attacked a courthouse after the verdict was read. a christian man was given a jail sentence for spreading hatred about islam. some say he should have received the death penalty instead. the violence spread to other neighborhoods. two churches were set on firne a third was damaged. this is the second attack against religious minorities in less than a week.
a video of the attack on the am dia over the weekend has circulated on the internet. these men stormed a house where they gathered, calling them nonbelievers. mainstream muslims see them as islamic and they were outnumbered as three people pelted with stones and beaten to death. the rest of the footage is too graphic to show. human rights say this video proves the police did little to prevent the deaths. the indonesian president has called for a full investigation into the incident. translator: if the clash could have been prevented but the security forces or local authorities failed to prevent it, they, too, will be punished. >> a stern message but one that they have heard time and time again. they say violence against religious minorities continue to escalate. these incidents have tarnished
the country's reputation as a modern muslim nation. hard-line french groups have become more and more vocal in recent years and the president has been accused of caving into their demands. so now he's under pressure to better protect the rights of religious minorities in the world's most populous muslim nation. jennifer pack, bbc news, jakarta. >> this is bbc news. the headlines -- egypt's biggest protest so far, hundreds of thousands have en massed for president mubarak to step down. they want to lift laws and ensure an orderly transition of party. for more on the crisis in egypt, earlier i spoke to ourin' correspondent barbara pled and asked her how the u.n. was developing its policy towards the situation. >> well, i think it's a dilemma
here for many people at the u.n., especially western nations because on the one hand they want to recognize that change is happening in egypt, which, of course, is being led by protesters who were demanding an end to the old order but on the other hand, they want to preserve egypt's strategic position when it comes to bing a staunch ally of the west and also a staunch ally of the israel. the secretary-general ban ki-moon expressed this sentiment well when he spoke to journalists earlier. >> egypt is one of the very important 0 countries. they have been playing a very important role in the middle east peace process. president mubarak himself has been praying a cure-all in this process, and, therefore, i would urge that the egyptian government leaders and people discuss their reform measures and transitions according to
their own rules and regulations and political suggestions. at the same time all very strategic role, which egypt has been praying and overall middle east peace process should also be preserved. that is why i'm asking that all of this transition should be orderly and peaceful so that this should not be any sudden impact. >> so rather carefully calibrated response there of ban ki-moon. we heard an awful lot about the demands washington is making on egypt but what about egypt, what is it saying about all of this? >> well, you're right. the americans, the vice president joe biden have called his counterpart in egypt and asked for very specific steps. for example, he's asked for more opposition people to be involved in negotiations and he's also asked for an end to the emergency laws which can
legalize brutal crackdowns. but here at the u.n., the egyptian ambassador gave a fairly cool response, especially when it came to the idea of listing the emergency laws there and he gave the impression that mr. biden would not be getting his way. >> i don't look at this as demands. i look at this as a friendly advice. this is a matter that relates to the situation and security. you know that during these events, 17,000 prisoners have escaped. i'm speaking about criminal prisoners have escaped from the prisons. if you are asking for lifting of the emergency situation, that means that all of those are going to continue to be on the street and the government will have no power deloket them and put them back into the place where the judicial system have already asked them to be. >> ok. well, that was egypt's ambassador to the u.n. do you think we are seeing this change in toward washington developing the policy on the
hoof when it comes responding to this? >> i think the real dilemma here is who is going to lead the political transition? i think the washington and many at the u.n. feel political transition is necessary. but who will lead it? will it be what the protesters are calling for, a national unity government with president mubarak stepping down and constitution being defended, starting from scratch in a way. or omar suleman, who has promised on some reform which protesters say do not go nearly far enough. and i think many demonstrators in the square will dismiss both of these demands for change from the west and continuity from the egyptian authorities. they say the only real way there could be change is for president mubarak to step down and also an end to the system that supports him. >> in other news, principal accepted a north korean offer to reunite families, divided since the korean war ended in 1953.
it follows two days of military meetings. the first since the north shell in november killing four people. the venue for the talks are expected to be set shortly. in colombia five hostages held by the rebel group the farc are set to be release in the next few hours. staff from the red cross are preparing to pick up the men as they are give giving clearance to fly to a secret location in the jungle. prosecutors in italy are filing a request on wednesday for the prime minister silvio berlusconi to be put on trial. they want hill charged for accusations he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl and used his influence to get her out of trouble with the police. duncan kennedy reports from rome. >> silvio berlusconi faces two allegations, first that he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl and second that he abused his
power by putting pressure on police to release her on an unrelated theft charge. known as ruby, this is the woman involved. both she and mr. berlusconi deny there was snism. the prime minister accepts he called police on her behalf because, he said, she needed help. prosecutors said he went further saying ruby is the granddaughter of the egyptian president hosni mubarak. the prosecutor will now pass their investigation onto a judge in milan, who will decide in the next few days whether to put silvio berlusconi on trial. having spent around $300 million on lawyer fees in his long career, mr. berlusconi is a robust defender of his liberty. this time the prosecutors say they have a strong case against him. they're not alone. a series of substance being enacted in italy against the prime minister. many people here are indignant about the claims of wild sex
parties involving their head of government. they say mr. berlusconi is trashing italy's reputation. >> the italians have a saying -- [speaking italian] the worst never dies. enover the last two years as the berlusconi sex scandals grew and the revelations grew, there was always a presumption that it can't get worse. it can and it probably is getting worse. >> politically he's still safe. at least while his coalition partners are happy to put wind in his sails but he could still flounder. especially now his immunity from prosecution has been taken away. the sight of an italian prime minister becoming courtroom defend might be one uncomfortable image too far for those still sticking by him. duncan kennedy, bbc news n. rome. >> the trial of the former liberian president charles
taylor is expected to hear closing arguments from defense lawyers in the hague. mr. taylor and his defense lawyer courtney griffins both boycotted proceedings on tuesday when prosecutors were presenting their summing up. the family of twin girls from switzerland missing for a week say hopes of finding them alive are waning. their comments follow the discovery of thousands of euros in cash sent by the girls' father to his estranged wife. before he apparently killed himself, it had been hoped that the father had taken the money in order to care for the children. the british government says it will increase the levy on banks to $2.5 billion pounds this year, leaving an extra 800 million. the chancellors said the taxes being brought forward because anchings deserve bonus payments but leaders of the four biggest banks are said to be livid at the move. >> a countdown is under way for the banks. they're about to announce
profits and bonus payments and that's set to provoke another wave of criticism. and today in a surprise move, the chancellor said he would increase the amount they pay under an existing bank levy. >> i want the banks to make a fair contribution to the economic recovery and staying off the nation's credit cards, the budget deficit. so i've increased the bank levies this year so they will pay 2.5 billion pounds each and every year. i think that's a fair con fwrution. >> mr. osborne had said he wanted to raise 1.7 billion pounds from the banks this year. that's just over 2.7 billion dollars. now he says he wants 2.5 billion pounds from the levy. that's just over 4 billion dollars. but that's still a long ways short of the 6 billion pounds, 9.6 billion dollars which is expected to be paid out in bank bonuses. >> i just think it's fage leaf to disguise attention and distract people from the fundamental that the economy is not growing and george osborne
is not getting a deal with the banks on lending. >> flanned deal with the banks over boosting lending and restraining bonuses is called project merlin. ministers hoped it would be signed by now but it hasn't been concluded. here in the city, most in the banking industry do want to reach some sort of accommodation with the government in order to keep politicians and the public happy and to allow them to get on with their business without another bout of criticism in the future. but there is increasing frustrations but the debate is still rumbling on. >> will we see jobs that should have been or would have been in london move to the middle east, hong kong, singapore? i think that's likely to happen now and will be with greater uncertainty in london. >> it's become clear the banks are far from happy of news of the higher levy. that's thrown a new cloud over their talks with the government.
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